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Artist's Showcase Pt 2: Traditional Media

While last week's Showcase focused on creative forms of movement, this week we'll be looking at more traditional forms of creativity, quite literally! Artworks created using a physical, tangible medium such as painting, drawing, collaging, sculpting, woodwork, beading, jewelry making, and countless others are considered "traditional" media, as opposed to the no less valid forms of "digital" or "new" media that use computer programs, apps, and other modern tech to create digital artworks. Traditional media includes some of the very first types of creative expression we learn as kids all the way through to the chosen art forms of some of the greatest artists in history.

Here are just a few examples of traditional media as told by three artistic AmeriCorps members:

Colleen Searcy, Naturalist Educator - Mixed Media

Nature and art have been the two most important factors since the beginning of my life, and naturally they have always been intertwined. I spent pretty equal amounts of time as a child doodling animals in my notebooks and catching frogs at the neighborhood pond.

I never stopped dabbling in new forms of art, and that's how I ended up as a mixed-media artist. Though I do buy some traditional materials, such as markers or paints, I also use a lot of found materials. Using found materials is a fun type of recycling. Scraps of paper cut from catalogues, flyers, or product packaging can add a lot of personality to a project. In one piece I used flower petals from a bouquet I received. In another piece, I used a packet of seeds I received at an environmental event. Putting together a mixed media piece is a lot like putting together a puzzle, and it is just as satisfying.

Kristina Lee, Naturalist Educator - Painting

I can’t exactly remember how I got started doing art, I just know I’ve always enjoyed the peaceful aspects of creating. Both my great-grandma and grandma were very crafty and always making something new.

As far as sustainability in art, I tend to use products that are non-toxic, my sketches are drawn on recycled paper, and I reuse my canvases by painting over old art. I feel that paint-brushes can last an entire lifetime if they are cleaned and taken care of properly. I also don’t buy every single shaped paintbrush and just work with what I have. I also reduce the amount of paint I purchase by only purchasing base colors and creating colors from those.

I am fascinated by trees and water so those tend to pop-up in most of my art work. I’m not sure that I’m sharing a message of sustainability or change in my art, but I do share the beauty that I feel about nature with those who view my art or receive my paintings as a gift.

I love painting and many other forms of casual artmaking because the process helps me get my feelings out there and it just feels so good to make something. I love seeing something come out of nothing and that is exactly what happens every time I start a new art project. I would encourage other people to paint or sketch to feel more in touch with themselves and to expose your creative side.

Rachel Carroll, Communications Coordinator VISTA - Necklaces

I first started making chokers in February 2020 because I found it next to impossible to find ones offered by big name brands that fit me, both in size and in style. Realizing this must be a common issue with all of the different tastes and body sizes in the world, I wanted to start my own small business offering chokers in a wide variety of styles that could be custom fit to anyone.

A huge thing when I got started was figuring out how to make my packaging look good and eco-conscious at the same time. What I ended up going with includes a recycled material bubble mailer, biodegradable tape, recyclable tissue paper that also comes from sustainably managed forests, and handwriting my thank you notes on just simple index cards so they can either be saved or recycled/broken down. I also enjoy incorporating thrifted, vintage, and repurposed materials into the necklaces themselves when possible.

It feels amazing to have an accessory you love that fits you perfectly. To be able to offer this not only to myself but to others all across the country no matter their style or size is so incredible. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that there are people I may never meet in places I may never visit that wear something made with my own two hands. It's also been a great way to learn a multitude of skills, not just jewelry making but also customer relations, shipping, sourcing materials, social media promotion, website creation, graphic design, photography, and so much more. Maybe most of all in a society where success and skill-learning at the youngest age possible is so highly valued, it's shown me firsthand that you're never too old to learn a new skill from scratch as long as you have the passion to actually develop it.

Keep an eye out for the third and final part of our Artist's Showcase featuring thread craft, coming next week!


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